Each morning when I roll out of bed, my feet land on a little Persian carpet.

As it was a gift from an elderly neighbor, now deceased, I know it must be old, most likely from the mid-1800s. Her great-grandfather was a sea captain involved in the West Indies trade. He once jumped overboard with nails, tar and a spare sail to improvise a patch over a leak in the hull.

I wonder, who could have made this carpet? A man or a woman, an adult or a child, a villager or a nomad, an artist or an entrepreneur?

Such a carpet could have taken months, even a year, to complete. What was the creator thinking throughout the process? Worrying about day-to-day issues? Dealing with a major crisis? Daydreaming about a better life? Totally absorbed in the artistic process?

Would the craftsman wonder about the destination of his or her work? As Persia is now Iran, what would the artist think about the carpet now residing in the United States? If the artist were worldly, and if the tensions were evident even then, would there be resentment? Or would it simply be a sale, with no strings attached? (A pun intended.)

Why did this region develop this craftsmanship? Was it available resources of wools and dyes? Was it the chance location on a trade route? Was it a long-standing skill set? Was it market analysis? Was it a decision made from a higher authority?

And what about those who used the rug previously? Did it come from a store? From a journey in the history of this sea captain’s family? How was it used? On a landing? Beside a bed? As a decoration? Did a sea captain indeed step upon it? Onboard a ship? Did he give it a second thought? Was it a cherished heirloom?

Did he, like me, pause upon first arising to get his bearings, to let his joints loosen up? Did he appreciate the protection from cold feet that the rug provided?

And what about my history, now passing across the same artifact? Does my DNA work its way into the fibers? Will this now be passed along to future generations? Or will this be part of a housecleaning purge when my time comes? Will anyone notice or care?

That would be the end of the line for this carpet, though not necessarily the memory of the one who last owned and used it. Yet even that, too, will eventually fade. Nothing is forever.

No, I don’t put this much thought into each and every inanimate object in my life. But something about the ancient craftsmanship, the history and the enduring beauty captures my thoughts.

Then, I wonder, will anything of my own creation follow a parallel path through time? The house that I built? Any of my writings? My photos and slideshows? The knowledge and skills that I generated as a teacher? The activities that I introduced to my family, such as skiing or golf?

Certainly, my sons, having lived through it, will remember. Certainly, my grandchildren, having known me, will carry on some memories. Maybe, even a great-grandchild should I live that long and should any of my grandchildren produce a family soon enough.

Little do we know what impact we have on life, on people or on events. We set the stage, we produce the goods, we teach the lessons. Then, it’s like releasing a bird from the hand – it’s out of our control.

Sometimes, the objects and the memories will disappear into the unknown of the future, but sometimes they will linger on, impacting the next generation(s) and sparking new memories of their own while preserving the people who once inspired them.

We as a species keep things, whether for utilitarian or sentimental reasons. Sometimes, the reason is both.

We preserve them in our museums, whether personal or institutional. We record the stories, whether in memory or in written history. The past lives on, weaving its way into the future.

In this case, in the form of an ancient carpet, still used.

Stuart Deane lives in Newburyport.

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